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Hurricane-proofing Florida? New state bill could bring in more underground power lines

The bad news: You could end up picking up the tab
Posted at 3:55 PM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 06:41:53-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Florida homeowners have learned the value of having power in the aftermath of major storms. From Hurricanes Irma to Michael, our power infrastructures have taken some beating, knocking out power for millions.

Earlier this week, Florida house members approved a bill that could help keep your lights on after a storm, but you could be the one picking up the tab.

House Bill 797 would require utility companies to come up with a plan to harden their systems, including swapping out overground power poles for underground lines.

It would also allow utility companies to charge customers for any and all storm protection projects.

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ABC Action News contacted Duke Energy, FPL and TECO. FPL and TECP tell us about 40 percent of their power lines are buried underground. All three companies couldn’t say if this bill would automatically mean higher monthly bills, or how much your bill could go up.

The senate version of the bill (SB 796) already has unanimous approval from two committees.